Fabulous Freezer Fish Pie
This is my youngest daughter's favourite weekday supper but it's also special enough to serve at a weekend lunch. You can vary the type of fish according to what you can buy but choose fresh rather than frozen fish if you are planning to freeze all or some of the pie.
Place thinner fish fillets on top of thicker ones so there is less chance they will be overcook. If you can’t get hold of fresh dill, use a couple of teaspoons of freeze dried dill or freshly chopped parsley instead.
- 500g thick white fish fillets, such as cod or haddock
- 300g smoked haddock fillet
- 300g thick salmon fillet
- 750ml full fat or semi-skimmed milk
- 1 medium onion, cut into wedges
- 2 bay leaves
- 75g butter
- 75g plain flour
- small bunch of fresh dill (roughly 15g or 2 tsp freeze-dried dill
- flaked sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Cheesy potato topping
Cheesy Potato Topping
- 1.25kg medium potatoes, preferably Maris Piper
- 300ml tub half-fat crème fraiche
- 50g mature Cheddar cheese, finely grated
To make the filling, place the fish fillets in a large saucepan and pour the milk over. Add the onion wedges and bay leaves, tucking them in around the fish. Bring to a very gentle simmer. Cover with a lid and remove from the heat immediately. Leave to stand and infuse for 10 minutes until the fish is just cooked. Drain the liquid from the fish through a colander and into a bowl over a large jug.
While the fish is infusing, make the cheesy mash. Peel the potatoes and cut into roughly 4cm even chunks. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are very soft but not falling apart. Test with the tip of a knife. Drain well in a colander, then return to the pan and mash with the crème fraiche until smooth. Season to taste and set aside.
To finish the filling, melt the butter in a medium saucepan and stir in the flour. Stir for a few seconds over a medium heat, then gradually add the infused milk, stirring for 5 minutes until the sauce is smooth and thick. Remove from the heat and snip the dill into the sauce with scissors. Discard the stalks. Stir well and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon a third of the sauce into the base of a 2 litre shallow freezer and ovenproof dish - remember that the pie will cook more quickly from frozen if the dish is fairly shallow. Scatter half the fish fillets over the sauce, breaking them into chunky pieces and discarding the skin, any stray bones, onion and bay leaves as you go. Pour over another third of the sauce then top with more fish. Continue the layers once more, finishing with the sauce.
Spoon the potato over the fish mixture, starting at the edges before making your way into the centre. Swirl the potato with the back of a spoon and sprinkle with the cheese. To cook, place the dish on a baking tray and bake in the centre of a preheated oven at 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6 oven for 40–45 minutes or until the potato topping is golden and the filling is bubbling and hot throughout.
Cool the assembled pie completely without baking. Cover with a lid or a double layer of foil. Label and freeze for up to 3 months.
To reheat from frozen, uncover and cook on a baking tray in a preheated oven at 210°C/Fan 190°C/Gas 6½ for 1 ¼ - 1 ½ hours or until piping hot throughout. Cover with foil if the potato begins to over brown.
Alternatively, thaw in the fridge overnight, then cook the pie as if freshly made, adding an extra 5-10 minutes to allow for the chill factor.